In Trying to Show That There Are No “Bad Jews,” a New Book Declares That the Only Good Jews Are Leftists

In her recent book Bad Jews: A History of American Jewish Politics and Identities, Emily Tamkin provides a loose survey of the past century of Jewish life in the U.S., intertwined with some reflections about her own experiences. Elliot Kaufman writes in his review:

Tamkin claims to argue that there’s no such thing as a good Jew or bad Jew. But her heart isn’t in it. At every opportunity, she valorizes her bad Jews, the ones who vilify Israel and the American Jewish community. They’re the heroes. Eli Valley, the Jewish cartoonist known for drawing Israelis and pro-Israel Americans as Nazis, she fawns over.

The flip side is that Tamkin clearly thinks her good Jews are bad. The major Jewish organizations are portrayed throughout as morally indefensible; even Jewish leadership in the civil-rights movement is unconvincingly labeled a “myth.” Anti-Communists and Israel supporters are cast as fear- and guilt-ridden tyrants, synagogue-goers as conformist and xenophobic. In her most disgusting passage, Tamkin blames the deadly 2018 shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on Donald Trump and then immediately uses the tragedy to dump on Orthodox Jews—themselves the victims of most anti-Semitic violence—for several paragraphs.

At the end, Tamkin has one last somersault to perform: excusing left-wing anti-Semitism. . . . Senator Bernie Sanders, it is made clear, is the ideal type [of politically engaged Jew]. At last, and in so many words, we have Tamkin’s elusive definition of a good Jew: a leftist.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: American Jewish History, American Jewry, Anti-Zionism, Bernie Sanders

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy